The first thing you notice about Yvie Oddly is her laugh: It’s deep and loud and soulful. The second is whatever dramatic, totally-different-from-anything-you’ve-seen-before outfit she’s wearing. Whether she’s painted her entire body pink to portray a glam jellyfish or she’s dressed like an outrageous version of a character from "Cats," everything about Oddly—the stage name for Denver drag queen Jovan Bridges—makes you look.
It’s no wonder the expert judges on "RuPaul’s Drag Race" crowned Oddly “America’s Next Drag Superstar” at the end of May, making her the first Denver queen to nab the top prize.
Since then, the self-proclaimed “evolutionary drag queen” has found herself taking center stage around the country. She headlined Denver PrideFest in June and will wrap up "Drag Race’s season 11 tour" in New York in September. After that: global domination. Or, at least, dancing her way through the Werq the World 2019 tour, which stops in Denver on September 14, and Australia’s Pretty Weird Tour.
It all sounds exhausting, but the 25-year-old is enjoying the spotlight (hello, "New York" magazine cover). “[Yvie] feels most alive on stage. She is a storyteller and her message is reaching people all around the world,” Oddly says.
Oddly’s introduction to drag came courtesy of an unexpected muse: her mom. Though she’d long been drawn to the idea of painting her nails and putting on makeup, it wasn’t until one Halloween in high school—with Oddly dressed as a dead hooker and her mom playing the role of her pimp—that she began to think more seriously about drag. A few years later, after coming out and seeing other queens, Oddly was born, and she’s been sharing her artistry through performance and costuming ever since.
Though she has a whole creative team, Oddly still styles all of her looks herself. “My style is whatever I want it to be. I express myself through what I create and what I wear,” she says. “I don’t like to be bored. I am inspired by unconventional materials and punk ideals… Sometimes I want to express myself as an alien queen that’s breaking out of a hive mind planet as a pop tribute to the destroyer of worlds, whereas other times I prefer to express myself as Beyoncé on the beach of a magical tropical island under the sunset playing the drums in 2013.” Her name is an extension of her persona—a wink at those who have called her performances, and her personality, weird.
Fans will soon get to know Oddly a little better when "Yvie Oddly’s Oddities" premieres on the new WOW Presents Plus subscription streaming service in early September. The reality show will follow the queen as she “finds thrift store throwaways and household items to create her unique brand of avant-garde drag on a broke queen budget.” (More recently, a glimpse at some new Oddly looks came via her debut single and music video, “Dolla Store,” a parody of rap tracks that are all about over-the-top purchases and living large.)
Though her work is taking her far away, Oddly still considers The Mile High City home. She calls the local drag scene “up-and-coming” but exciting. “There are a lot of hard-working queens and some of the most creative minds all mixed into a real sense of community,” she says. “I have a whole #OddSquad that feels like a family.”
Photos by Marco Ovando